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Heart Health

Alcohol and Heart Disease: A Fine Balance

The heart is a magnificent and mighty organ, in fact the entire circulatory system should take a bow! Continuously sending out rich oxygenated blood throughout our bodies, and recycling it in a highly calibrated, exquisitely complex system of inputs and adjustments. The heart adjusts the force and rate of contractions while blood vessels manage pressure and perfusion based on a number of signals such as fluid volume, exertion and even our mood. The point being that our cardiovascular system operates with military precision, that is of course until it doesn’t. Heart disease defines a group of conditions related to the

Research Spotlight: B-Vitamins and Blood Pressure

What’s Already Known on This Topic? High blood pressure (or hypertension) is the leading risk factor contributing to death worldwide, primarily from heart disease and stroke. Effective lowering of blood pressure, even by small amounts, is however proven to reduce these events, and can thus save lives in middle and older age. Along with the well-recognized nutrition and lifestyle factors that contribute to higher blood pressure, there is much interest in the role of genetic factors. This aspect is receiving greater attention in recent years with the emergence of ‘genome-wide association studies’ or GWAS, an approach that involves rapidly scanning

Nutritional Management of Vascular Health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the second leading cause of death in Canada, after cancer, and a leading cause of hospitalization.[i] CVD is a broad term that refers to more than one disease of the circulatory system. Amongst them, vascular disease includes any condition that affects your circulatory system, such as peripheral artery disease. This ranges from diseases of your arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.[ii] Besides traditional risk factors such as lipids profile and blood pressure, researchers are investigating newer cardiovascular risk factors, such as inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial function and conditions which predispose people

How Cardiovascular Health Influences Cognition

The onset of dementia and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) don’t typically manifest until the age of 65 or so. But what if you could decrease your risk of developing dementia, or even age-related cognitive decline, if you addressed cardiovascular health in mid-life or earlier? Evidence of the significance of cardiovascular health on cognition and neuroprotection is mounting, and it can be seen as early as childhood.  There are multiple factors at play, notably blood vessel health and oxygen delivery to the brain, as well as the release of certain neuroprotective compounds in the body, which can be upregulated by

Living for a Healthy Cholesterol Level

Linked not only to a healthy heart, but also to better overall health in general, cholesterol is an extremely important part of our internal makeup and understanding how to manage both “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels can lead to a longer, healthier life. As we age, managing cholesterol becomes not only more important but also more difficult. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that men with less than optimal aerobic fitness are at a greater risk of developing high cholesterol in their early 30s, while men with higher aerobic fitness are likely to

Journey to Ironman: Part 1 of 4

The journey to becoming an Ironman is more than just crossing a finish line at the end of a race, it’s a lifelong adventure of being the best you can be and improving yourself. Every person’s story is unique and everyone has a different reason for wanting to complete the challenge which is known for being one of the most mentally and physically demanding endurance races in the world. Ultimately, I chose to do it for me, follow through with the commitment to myself, and to prove that the body is much more capable than what we realize. Anything is

Be Your Best Blood Pressure

What is blood pressure and how does it relate to health? Blood pressure is a measurement of how hard your heart has to work to pump blood out to the body. It calculates the volume of blood leaving your heart (cardiac output) by the resistance it faces when it leaves (peripheral resistance.) There are many contributing factors to make up this number: How healthy is your heart? How much blood volume do you have? Did you lose blood? How strong and flexible are your arteries? How old and what sex are you? What is your genetic susceptibility or risk? What

The Facts about Cholesterol

Cholesterol gets a pretty bad reputation in the self-care health circles but it may be time to revisit this ubiquitous molecule. Cholesterol is the backbone of steroid hormones, bile salts, vitamin D, and cell membranes. Without cholesterol, we would not be able to digest foods properly; our cell structure would not be able to withstand any changes in temperature, and a significant number of important hormones such as estrogen and testosterone could not be produced. So how can it be that bad? Well, like all good things it is best in moderation. High total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and trans fats

Magnesium & Heart Health

When you hear magnesium do you immediately think of sports performance or cramping legs? You are not alone. So often we are conditioned to think of minerals as having one function, but the reality is that many minerals, particularly magnesium are very diverse and can be used for many health conditions. In fact, magnesium has over 300 different functions in the body from electrolyte regulation, neurotransmitter production and yes,  you guessed it, muscle contraction. In fact, it’s not just related to skeletal muscle contraction but all smooth muscle contraction as well. That means those small smooth muscles in your gut

Protecting your Heart and Blood Vessels with Antioxidants

February is heart health month so of course we start to see more posts on heart-healthy recipes and natural ingredients. One thing you might notice is that many of these natural compounds fall into the category of antioxidants. This is a broad term that includes any substance that that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced in our bodies as results of normal cell energy production or from external damaging influences (i.e. UV radiation, chemicals etc.). The cardio-vascular system is especially sensitive to the effects of free radicals.

Nattokinase: The Natural Cardiovascular Health Booster

When it comes to our cardiovascular health, many of us don’t have a high awareness of the prevalence and risks of cardiovascular disease – we tend not to focus on the problems that we can’t see. According to recent surveys, most of us aren’t aware, for example, that blood clots, aka thrombosis, are responsible for one in four deaths in Canada each year. The primary cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, which happens when fatty plaques build up on the walls of an artery and eventually block it. Eventually, these plaques can rupture, and the resultant blood clot can deprive

Methylation & HomocysteineTheir Vital Roles in Heart Health

A subject that is gaining much attention in many circles of medicine these days is methylation, as it pertains to our body’s functions and in particular the management of homocysteine. With respect to statistics of heart disease in Canada, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every seven minutes in Canada someone will die of heart disease or stroke. They are both in the top three causes of death for Canadians. Although numbers have improved with respect to heart disease over the years, these are still very sobering statistics. Thus, in looking at a preventative approach and management strategy for

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